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Blu-ray Review: mother!

December 19, 2017

By John Corrado

The latest from Darren Aronofsky, mother! follows a celebrated poet (Javier Bardem) and his wife (Jennifer Lawrence), who live in a decaying old house that she is fixing up to start a family, but their lives are upended when a mysterious visitor (Ed Harris) arrives at their house asking for a place to stay, and then his wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) shows up shortly after.  And that’s all you need to know before seeing it.

Receiving a rare “F” rating from audiences on CinemaScore, mother! is one of the most divisive movies to come along in quite awhile, with audience reactions varying wildly.  But I’ve been on board with this film since the lights came up on my TIFF screening in September, and it remains among my favourite movies of the year.  This is one of the boldest and most ambitious studio pictures in recent memory, and it’s an intense, disturbing and fascinating work that gives us plenty of symbolism to mull over and dissect afterwards.  It won’t be for everybody, but it demands attention for curious viewers, and you can read my full thoughts on the film right here.

The Blu-ray also includes a pair of featurettes.  The half-hour mother! The Downward Spiral features interviews with Darren Aronofsky and other members of the cast and crew, offering an in-depth look at the production, from the collaborative writing process and weeks of rehearsals in an old warehouse, to the actual shoot which was done on a series of different sound stages and practical sets.  The second half focuses almost entirely on the logistics of shooting that insane finale when all hell breaks loose.  Next is The Makeup FX of mother!, a shorter but still fascinating piece featuring Montreal makeup artist Adrien Morot talking about how they crafted some of the film’s nastiest and most memorable practical effects.

mother! is a Paramount Home Media Distribution release.  It’s 121 minutes and rated 14A.

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